'Stunning job' by NZ team at Sochi Paralympics
Despite falling short of their target, the New Zealand Paralympic campaign in Sochi has been deemed an "unmitigated success".
The three-man New Zealand team had hoped to secure two gold medals at the Winter Paralympics, with both slalom standing skier Adam Hall and snowboard cross exponent Carl Murphy at or near the top of their respective codes.
But it was sit-skier Corey Peters who won New Zealand's only medal of the event, a silver in the giant slalom.
Paralympics New Zealand chief executive Fiona Allan said the team of Murphy, Hall and Peters had taken a step forward for the Paralympic movement.
"Our Winter Paralympians have performed exceptionally well in Sochi. Corey Peters blitzed it to take silver in the giant slalom. Yet the whole team have done a stunning job, and I have been extremely proud of all of them both on and off the slopes."
Along with Peters' silver, the New Zealand team managed three fourth placings - Adam Hall and Peters finishing just off the podium in the weather-disrupted Super Combi and Murphy in the debut of snowboard cross.
An ounce of luck could have pushed New Zealand's achievements even higher.
Hall suffered a stomach illness on the eve of his title defence in the slalom and finished seventh, while Murphy did well to come back from a fractured knee and ruptured ligaments just before Christmas.
Neither athlete was making excuses about their performances.
"I've been happy with my level of performances," said Hall, who was attending his third Paralympics and led the New Zealand team into the opening ceremony.
"I had high hopes of winning a medal in all events and to not win a medal is disappointing but sometimes that's ski racing. The organisers have done a great job to maintain the course and make sure the events have gone ahead. The whole Games have been a great experience. It has been a challenge to try and get on the podium, I've really enjoyed it and I will try to improve in the future."
Murphy said it was special to perform on the world stage in front of his family.
"The chance to represent my country at the highest level is a huge honour that I don't take lightly.
"I'm out of the podium but it's still fourth place in the world at the highest level. I'm sure once I get back and reflect on it, it's going to be one of those experiences I'll never forget."
Officially, more than 300,000 tickets were sold for the 10-day event, breaking the record of 230,000 set four years ago in Vancouver.
The 11th Winter Paralympics came to an end with the closing ceremony from 5am this morning.
- Fairfax Media
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